Research shows antimony (a toxic heavy metal) can be leached from water bottles made of PET plastics. The rate of leaching is low at a storage temperature of 25°C. However, at temperatures of 50°C and above, antimony release can occur very rapidly. It is likely to approach these temperatures in the Middle East generally and in Kuwait specifically. Therefore, exposure to high temperatures in short period of time during packaging, transportation or storage could produce antimony concentrations that exceed the USEPA MCL of 6 ppb.
Since the 1960s, researchers have been searching for “bioplastics” — alternatives to petroleum-derived plastics that can replace conventional plastics. Research shows why these alternative materials do not address the core problem driving plastic pollution—the wasteful use of resources to create “throwaway” products—and instead how they perpetuate the problem. Biodegradable plastics have numerous drawbacks, including raw material needs, dubious ability to actually biodegrade, and high economic costs. No matter how many bioplastics or “environmentally friendly” materials there are, if we do not reduce the production of these types of materials and consequently their waste, there will be no real solutions. We need to be aware of what we consume, support initiatives that promote environmental care and demand the commitment of governments to legislate and enforce laws, as well as encouraging businesses to change their materials and production processes.
There is virtually nowhere on Earth today that remains untouched by plastic and ecosystems are evolving to adapt to this new context. While plastics have revolutionized our modern world, new and often unforeseen effects of plastic and its production are continually being discovered. Plastics are entangled in multiple ecological and social crises, from the plasticization of the oceans to the embeddedness of plastics in political hierarchies.
The complexities surrounding the global plastic crisis require an interdisciplinary approach and the materialities of plastic demand new temporalities of thought and action. Plastic Legacies brings together scholars from the fields of marine biology, psychology, anthropology, environmental studies, Indigenous studies, and media studies to investigate and address the urgent socio-ecological challenges brought about by plastics. Contributors consider the unpredictable nature of plastics and weigh actionable solutions and mitigation processes against the ever-changing situation. Moving beyond policy changes, this volume offers a critique of neoliberal approaches to tackling the plastics crisis and explores how politics and communicative action are key to implementing social, cultural, and economic change.
Editors: Trisia Farrelly, Sy Taffel, Ian Shaw
Contributors: Sasha Adkins, Sven Bergmann, Stephanie Borrelle, Tridibesh Dey, Eva Giraud, Christina Gerhardt, John Holland, Deidre McKay, Laura McLauchlan, Mike Michael, Imogen Napper, Tina Ngata, Sabine Pahl, Padmapani L. Perez, Jennifer Provencher, Elyse Stanes, Johanne Tarpgaard, Richard Thompson, and Lei Xiaoyu.
In this Open Access Government research report, learn how the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the plastic pollution crisis. Namely, it did this because people were driven to purchase single-use plastics they perceived as helping them to avoid cross-contamination, recycling initiatives became mismanaged or were shut down, lockdowns drove people to purchase takeaway food, and disposable plastic personal protective equipment (PPE) has been widely worn by people over the past several years.
Scientists share results of research measuring microplastic pollution from mechanical recycling facilities. They found that microplastic pollution escaped from recycling facilities with and without wastewater treatment. Microplastic particles are a toxic and serious source of plastic pollution that contaminates air, waters, soils, the atmosphere, and the ocean.
Mechanical recycling is not a solution to plastic pollution, as the industry has only managed to incorporate 9% of all plastic ever made globally into new plastic products (usually adding fresh plastic and petrochemicals), as plastic production has increased. Most plastic collected as recycling is actually incinerated, tipped in a landfill, or shipped overseas. Because so-called “advanced recycling” typically requires the same sorting, washing, and shredding processes as mechanical recycling, this study could also have relevance in evaluating the risks of the “advanced recycling” industry.
Plastic-free activist Beth Terry shares her journey learning to live a plastic-free life in Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. The book is filled with personal anecdotes, environmental stats, individual solutions and tips on how to limit your plastic footprint. Terry includes handy checklists and tables for easy reference, ways to get involved in larger community actions, and profiles of individuals—Plastic-Free Heroes—who have gone beyond personal solutions to create change on a larger scale.